Artists for Artists is a collective of local artists that come together to support each other and the future generations of artists. Introducing one of our newest site contributing artists, Mahroo Keshavarz!
What does your name mean?
Where are you from?
I was born in Spokane, WA. I am first generation Iranian-American.
When did you first identify as an artist?
To be honest, I have been struggling with this label for a very long time. I guess I have been an artist my whole life because drawing and writing were always part of it but I never really thought of myself as an “artist,” just someone who liked to do art. It wasn’t until this past year that I became comfortable calling myself an artist. There wasn’t a real defining moment until someone sarcastically called me an artist and I agreed with them. Then the whole artist label thing didn’t seem that big of a deal. So I’ve been an artist my whole life but became comfortable calling myself an artist recently.
One of the traits about you that I picked up first was your deep love and loyalty to your friends and your art community. OCnotes once said “Mahroo is hella down for her town” one day talking about this as one of your most admirable traits. It’s this dedication and loyalty and commitment to that culture that got you contributing to AFA. Can you tell me a little about your beliefs in this? Why is supporting local Seattle artists so important?
First of all, thank you, Otis. I have always been a part of the Seattle music/art scene by going to shows and art events most of my life, especially middle school where I was in the middle of the under-aged/all ages grunge scene. There were countless places to see local bands and it is my favorite pastime to reminisce on. Since that was my introduction to the local music scene, I gradually began to evolve more into different kinds of music that are in the area. Seattle is one of the most creative cities on the planet and supporting our local artists is very important because we need to support one another in the community. It’s not easy to be brave enough to put your creativity out there for people to listen to, watch, see, and I think its important for everyone to be in support of that.
What kind of art do you like to make?
I like to keep things really basic with acrylic on wood or on canvas. I guess you would call it “realism” but I just like to draw and paint things that I think are beautiful. It’s important to me that I love the pieces that I finish and hope that I capture the same beauty that I feel in the paintings.
How has creating art impacted your life? Do you use art as a tool of expression?
Art has been a very good outlet for me my whole life. Some people are really good at expressing themselves through talking, music, writing etc. I feel like you can get a real sense of who I am with what I paint by looking at how I see the world, which is full of color and beauty. I like to focus on a lot of colors.
Was art important to you as a youth if so, how?
Art was a little too important to me as a youth. In high school, I would always skip certain classes and assemblies just to go to the art room and paint. I was grateful to have an art teacher that was in support of this and would give me really great art supplies. It was something that I was constantly doing. I have gone through phases here and there where I didn’t paint as much but I feel like the older I am getting, the more creativity I am feeling and I want to get it out.
Your Iranian culture is important to you. How does being Iranian influence your art?
I feel that the Iranian culture itself is very artistic. Historically speaking, we come from a very artistic background with music, art, poetry, that is predominate with who we are as people. When I do art, I see all kinds of culture and that is mostly represented by the colors I like to use. Sometimes I will just use a lot of blue, grey, red, whatever I am feeling. I think that women with very dramatic features are very beautiful so I try to capture that in my paintings as well.
I’d love to show you some photos of her paintings but we are on the “one thing at a time” plan with this lady. Most people who know Mahroo would not include “shy” anywhere near her description but with her art she is. I wouldn’t know anything about that. For now, I’m just happy she’s in the family. Stay tuned for more of Seattle art and culture through the beautiful eyes of Mahroo.